July 23, 2017, England vs India, ICC WODI World Cup final. India chasing a target of 229, loses the final by just 9 runs. A heartbreak followed. The whole of India felt sad about the loss and came out in huge support of the players. Fast forward to Jan 25, 2023, the media rights for Women’s Premier League (WPL) were bought by Viacom for a whopping sum of INR 951 Crores, roughly INR 7.09 Crores per match. From having a pay parity, empty stands for matches, and getting revenues from men’s cricket to the launch of WPL, Indian women’s cricket has grown leaps and bounds.
The Road to WPL
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In 2015, Cricket Australia became the first board to start a separate franchise-based league for women, with the intent to nurture young budding cricketers. Five years later, ECB followed the suit and launched The Hundred inclusive of the women’s edition. The BCCI too experimented with a series called the Women’s challenger trophy. Having just 3 teams featuring players from around the world during the IPL playoffs week. Cricket experts and players from around the world kept calling for the launch of Women’s IPL given the global impact men’s version had. Meanwhile, the Indian women’s team performances improved. The team’s notable achievements include the 2018 ICC T20 Semifinals, the 2020 ICC T20 World cup runners-up, and the 2022 CWG silver medal. These factors combined to eventually give birth to WPL.
Connecting the Dots
In the year 2022, the Australian women’s team created a surreal record of losing just one international game in the entire year. That game too was lost in a super-over. Such is the dominance of the Australian women’s team. They have probably the all-time best all-rounder in the form of Ellyse Perry. With her still going strong, they have unleashed a beast called Tahila McGrath who keeps getting better and better every game. The team is frequently compared to the teams under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. By now, you must have guessed the context behind this paragraph.
The answer is WBBL. Yes, it gave birth to the new no.1 ranked T20 batter, Tahila McGrath. In the process, creating a strong bench for the main team. Imagine a relatively small population compared to India can achieve so much with their league, I am going to let you decide what WPL can achieve.
If WPL can replicate even 50% of the IPL for the Indian team, trust me, we are in for a hell of a ride. New gems are waiting in the wings to get unleash their talent. We can already see the first ICC trophy for the women’s team in sight. Imagine young cricketers sharing the dressing room with the legends like Ellyse Perry, Nat Sciver, Alyssa Healy, and Sophie Ecclestone to name a few. The experience will be invaluable to Indian Cricket.
The Endless Possibilities
This is just the beginning. There is a lot more to come in the next few years. Gone are the days when young girls had to play in exclusive boys’ cricket clubs, disguising themselves as a boy, to get better coaching. Time is changing. Ee may now see exclusive girls’ cricket coaching clubs with young ones aspiring to become cricketers.
Read More: Contemporary State of Women’s Game
Soon, Indian women’s cricket will have its own Perrys, Ecclestones, and McGraths. There will be a huge fan base for the game and the players. We are not far away from Indian women’s cricketers being seen as inspirations with superstardom, just like their male counterparts. It is an exciting time to be a fan of an Indian women’s Team. What do you think WPL holds for the Indian women’s cricket team? Do share with us in the comments section or on our Twitter handle. We are eager to hear you. Do share cricketbloggers.com with other cricket enthusiasts. You can also write to me directly at my Instagram handle hari_haran_2909.